Introduction to International Development

What is development?  How can it be measured?  Who does what in the name of development, why, and with what effects?

This module will introduce you to some of the key ideas that have informed international development thinking and practice in recent decades. Using a wide range of real-world examples, you will critically examine some commonly held assumptions and myths, and consider the variety of ways that individuals and societies have pursued development. 

You will explore the history and geography of development, and examine the influence of factors such as global markets, domestic politics, and international aid on patterns of development.

Through weekly lectures and seminars, we will help you to build a firm understanding of key concepts and theories, which you will then use to analyse the barriers to, and opportunities for, inclusive global development.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module you should be able to:

  • Describe how and why ideas about development – what it is, how it can be measured, its causes and its constraints – have changed over time
  • Identify key actors in development, and critically discuss their roles and inter-relationships.
  • Understand a range of theories that can be applied in international development, and critically evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Analyse the constraints on and opportunities for development in a range of country contexts.


  • One 1,000 word written assignment (25%)
  • One 2,000 word learning log/diary (75%)